1. You care just as much about an English football club as your hometown team.
Before you could walk, your father had taught you whether you sided with Liverpool or Manchester United. Sure, you support your local club too, but you feel totally comfortable wearing a Gunners jersey to their matches.
2. You have no idea what a snow day is.
I got to university before I first experienced school being cancelled due to weather – and even then, it was only because I was doing a semester in Washington D.C., a city which panics if two snowflakes land on Obama’s lawn. Sure our recess was cancelled a couple times because it got dangerously cold, and if you were truly snowed in (i.e. there was snow up to the second floor) you had a valid excuse. That said, there is one exception, and that is if you grew up in Oslo, where the first snowfall always causes complete and utter chaos. Which is somewhat embarrassing.
3. You guard your alcohol with your life.
At a party, you’ll say, “Belgium,” if someone “borrows” your beer and you. In return, simply “borrow” somebody else’s. To us, that concept is simply absurd. Why on earth would it be OK to take someone’s beer that cost 35 kroner in a store that closes at 6pm on a Saturday?
4. You have more childhood memories from ski school than from preschool.
You spent maybe ten, twenty hours of your life there in total, and in some cases (like me) you’ve forgotten almost everything you learned. But walking around with an ildsjel learning basic ski moves has a clearer space in your memory than preschool and kindergarten.
5. Caramelized goat cheese and fish seem like perfectly normal breakfast choices.
One thing you’ll love is bread with brunost or makrell i tomat, beloved by some Norwegians and detested by the rest for its rather strong odor.
6. You walked over decent-sized hills to get anywhere…without thinking about it.
If you’ve traveled you’ll have noted that other countries have some flat areas that they choose to build most of their settlements on – unlike us, who have slightly less hilly areas. You are used to climbing a mountainous hill to get from point A to point B.
7. National Day to you means eating hot dogs and jumping around in trash bags.
On the morning of May 17 (which, as we all know, is typically graced with terrible weather, but we don’t care) you know to dress up in suits, dresses, and ridiculously uncomfortable bunader. By afternoon, after the school parades, your party moves to the schoolyard where you consume copious amounts of hot dogs, ice cream and soda, while playing games such as racing each other while wearing a black trash bag. It’s all great fun, and we don’t care that non-locals don’t understand it.
8. You know things always grind to a halt during the third week of February.
If someone wanted to invade Norway they should do so on the third week of February, right? Back in the old days, you’d skip school and call in sick to watch the skiing. Today anyone working in front of a computer is instead hitting Alt-Tab between whatever they’re supposed to be doing and a stream of whatever event is on at the moment. During the 2011 world champs, one of my classmates was threatened with a demerit if he didn’t lift his eyes from a particularly exciting cross-country duel with Sweden — and accepted it on the spot, just so he could watch the last two minutes.